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The Benefits of Being Kind


Kindness, it's one of the simplest ways that we can support both our mental and physical health while helping to make the world a better place to be. Although it might seem pointless to be writing about kindness at a time when so much seems to be going wrong in our world. A time when so many people are suffering unimaginable cruelty and pain.


A time when as much as we'd like to change what's happening in the world, we feel as if we can't. Although I wish I could just snap my fingers and fix everything, I know that the only way that I can help to make the world a better place right now, is by simply sharing the good that continues to exist in spite of all the darkness that we're being faced with.


So with that being said, I hope that you'll join me, not in ignoring or dismissing the fact that bad things are happening in the world, but in choosing to be the change you wish to see in the world instead.


Below you'll find some of the scientific reasons why I believe that kindness should be one of the most recommended solutions for supporting our mental and physical wellness.


I've also put together a list of some simple ways that you can start spreading more kindness today.


The Science of Kindness

I don't know about you, but I love learning about the science behind the simple things in life that help us to experience more hope, healing, love and joy.


Although I already knew that being kind feels amazing, and that being on the receiving end of kindness can help to completely transform your day - before writing this blog I'd never taken the time to learn why kindness feels so good.


During my research, not only was I amazed by all of the health benefits that being kind can create, I was also so freaking excited and happy to know that performing just one small act of kindness per day can literally help to make the world a better place to be (which has been one of my biggest dreams since I was a little kid).


So here are a list of ways that being kind can help to support your mental and physical health:

  1. Increases Oxytocin

  2. Increases Serotonin

  3. Increases Endorphins

  4. Improves Energy levels

  5. Improves Your Mood

  6. Reduces Stress levels

  7. Reduces Blood pressure levels

  8. Reduces physical pain & speeds up healing

That's pretty amazing right? I think so too! What's also really cool is that kindness is contagious. Even if you're not a direct participant of an act of kindness and you simply observe someone being kind to another person you'll still get a mood boost and you'll also be increasing the amount of hope and empathy that you feel in connection to others.


So I'd like to invite you to take a moment with me now to think about a time that you either did something kind for someone else, someone did something kind for you, or you simply observed someone else being kind. When you think about that, how does it make you feel?


I know that when I think about the times when people have gone out of their way to do something kind for me, it fills my heart with so much joy. The same thing goes for when I think about the times when I've done something kind for someone else or have seen someone being kind.

Being kind isn't a cure all. It won't take away the fact that there are bad things happening in the world. It won't stop people from doing hurtful things, but it might just help to start creating something new.


One the greatest gifts we've been given as humans, is our ability to choose who we want to be and what we want to do with our lives.


Although sometimes it feels easier to follow the crowd and to simply close off your heart, to numb your emotions, and to stop believing in the goodness of people, it feels so much better to choose to be kind in spite of all the pain that life throws your way.


If you're anything like me, and you believe that there are good people in this world, then I'd love to invite you to not just believe in the good, but to also be the good you wish to see in the world.


If that sounds like something you'd like to do, then continue scrolling to find a big list of simple ways that you can start spreading kindness today.


Simple Acts of Kindness

As promised, here's a list of ways that you can incorporate more kindness into your life.


I've separated them by using the concept of the five love languages (which you can read about here). If you don't feel like reading about them right now this is what they are:

  1. Acts of service

  2. Gifting

  3. Words of Affirmation

  4. Physical Affection

  5. Quality Time

The reason I've chosen to separate them into these categories, is because to me, kindness in its simplest form is showing another person love.


And who couldn't use a little bit more love? I know that I could, and I have a feeling that you could too.


Acts of Service

Acts of service are when you do something for someone else that involves taking physical action. Some examples include:

  • Holding the door open for someone behind you

  • Smiling at someone you pass on the sidewalk (genuinely)

  • Cleaning up the dishes after someone has cooked a meal for you

  • Cooking a meal for someone else

  • Helping someone to carry something heavy

  • Raking the leaves for your neighbour (friend, family member, etc)

  • Removing the snow off of someone's car for them

  • Shovelling someone's driveway

  • Helping someone to cross the street

  • Let someone merge in front of you while sitting in traffic

  • Holding the elevator door open for someone else

  • Letting someone who only has a few items at the grocery store go before of you in line

  • Washing someone's car, bike, scooter, or anything else you can think of

  • Helping someone to put up or take down decorations

  • Pulling out someone's chair for them

  • Offering someone you know a ride to or from work or home

  • Giving up your seat to someone on the bus or metro who needs it (someone with a cane, someone who's much older than you, someone with children, someone that's pregnant, etc)

  • Getting something up high for someone that's too short to reach it (shout out to all my fellow shorties lol)

  • and more

Gifting

Gifting when done from your heart, is such a fun and simple way of making someone else feel special, thought of, and in some cases deeply loved.


Although we often think of gifting as an act that costs us money, it's also possible to give gifts to others that don't cost us anything other than a little bit of time and creativity.


Below I've included a list of some simple gift ideas that you can give to others. Some of them are free, some will cost a small amount of money, and others might cost a bit more.


It all depends on what you can afford. It's important to keep in mind that when it comes to gifting, the intentions behind the gift are far more important than the cost of it.

  • Go out into nature and find something beautiful that you think another person would appreciate and gift it to them (some examples include rocks, leaves, wild flowers, etc)

  • Make a nature craft for someone and gift it to them (for craft ideas you can check out the Project Little Joy winter challenge by clicking here)

  • Cook or bake something for someone else and gift it to them

  • Donate/gift something that you no longer use

  • Create something meaningful for someone else (a drawing, a painting, a bracelet, a collage, etc)

  • Pay for the coffee or tea of someone waiting in line behind you at your favourite coffee shop

  • Pay for the meal of someone else at a restaurant (can be a small portion of it as well like $10 or $20 - it's just to help them out)

  • Give an extra large tip to the barista or waiter/waitress that went that extra mile

  • Buy a lottery ticket for someone else

  • Buy some groceries for someone else (can be just a couple of things that you know they like and or need such as bread, their favourite fruit, or a treat that they enjoy like chocolate)

  • Gift something to someone you know that they've been wanting for a long time (or you can also gift a portion of money towards that gift for them)

  • Gift someone a trip to the spa or the hair salon/barber

  • Gift someone a book that you think they'd like

  • Gift or recommend a product to someone that you think might help them (some of my favourite gift recommendations are connected to products that have helped to support my mental health and physical health)

Words of Affirmation

This form of kindness is so simple and costs nothing more than a little bit of bravery and vulnerability. Words of affirmation are simply using words as a way to lift another person up.


If you're looking for some simple examples that you can start practicing simply look below:

  • Complimenting someone on their outfit or a part of their outfit (examples include - I love your shoes, your jacket, your dress, your tie, your hat, etc)

  • Telling someone that they have a beautiful smile

  • Telling someone that they look stunning, gorgeous, beautiful, handsome, strong, or my all time favourite - happy

  • Letting someone know what you admire about them (examples include - how smart they are, how kind they are, how brave they are, how talented they are, etc)

  • Non physical compliments (examples include - their laugh, how they dance, how they hug, etc)

  • Complimenting them on something that they've done a good job at recently

  • Thanking the people that have supported you in some way

  • Leaving post it notes of joy, encouragement or love for others to find (examples include - I hope that you have a great day, you are going to do amazing on your test today, I love you so much, etc)

  • Sending a text message or email to with a video, an article or a social media post that you think they'd enjoy with the message - hey I saw this and it made me think of you because...

  • Writing a letter to someone that you care about and sending it by mail (doing this is extra special because hardly anyone does this anymore. Just think of how magical it would be to open your mail box to something besides flyers and bills)

  • Giving someone words of encouragement before they do something that they're afraid to do (examples include: you've got this, I believe in you, I'll be here if you need support, etc)

  • Wishing someone a great day

  • and more

*A note on words of affirmation: it's important to keep in mind that many people feel uncomfortable receiving compliments. I know that it's something that I still struggle with sometimes too. But something that I learned from an incredibly wise woman at a networking event that I attended, was that when we deny and or push away a compliment someone else has given us, we deny not just ourselves, but the other person of feeling good too.


I also want to share that there's a big difference between feeling uncomfortable receiving a compliment because it touches upon something that we might feel insecure about vs feeling uncomfortable because of the way that a compliment was delivered.


Energy doesn't lie even though people sometimes do, so trust that if the way in which someone gives you a compliment leaves feeling uncomfortable (especially if that compliment is related to your physical appearance) that the feelings you have can be trusted and that you are allowed to protect yourself, to stand up for yourself, and to set boundaries for yourself if someone has said something to you that has made you feel unsafe.


Okay, now that I've gotten my protective mama bear vibes out haha, we can move on to the next ways in which you can continue spreading kindness.


Physical Affection

The next category is physical affection.


Now, when most people think of physical affection only a handful of different things usually pop into their head: hugs, cuddling, holding hands, massage, and sex.


But guess what?


There are layers to physical affection and just like with words of affirmation, the energy behind them is what changes how they're felt and or received.


Although physical affection can be enjoyed on its own, I find that physical affection often acts as a support and or side kick of words of affirmation especially in the context of spreading kindness.


Consent is especially important when it comes to this category so I recommend always asking whether the other person feels comfortable receiving the type of physical affection that you're offering when it feels like it makes sense to do so.


So here are some different ways that you can show physical affection to others depending on which category they fit into (strangers & colleagues, friends/family & pets, romantic partners):

  • Give someone a high five for accomplishing something

  • Give someone props or a hand shake when meeting/seeing them (these are especially helpful if you don't want to hug someone or if the other person isn't comfortable receiving hugs)

  • Give someone a gentle touch or pat on the arm (usually the spot right between the elbow and shoulder is best) when you congratulate them or thank them for something

  • Ask to give someone a hug when you think they might need it

  • Ask to give someone you care about a hand or foot massage

  • Ask someone you care about to brush their hair for them

  • Snuggle with your pet or take the time to groom them (if that's something that they enjoy)

  • Ask someone you love to snuggle them

  • Offer to help your workout buddy at the gym (this can involve help with form, stretching, or encouragement)

  • Offer to file or paint the nails of someone you know

  • Offer to hold someone's hand or to link arms with them if you sense that they're nervous

  • and more

The last category that I want to talk about with you about is quality time and how time is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to another.


Quality Time

What two things do all of the categories I've mentioned have in common? Kindness, and time.


I believe that the greatest gift we could ever give to one another is the gift of our time.


It's the one thing we give in this life, that we know we can't get back.


Choosing who and what we decide to give our time to each day will determine just how much hope, healing, love, and joy we will get to experience in the long run.


Although all of the ways I've listed above take time, sometimes the simplest and most affective way of showing another person kindness, is by simply giving them a moment of your devoted time.


So what does that look like? Here are a list of ideas:

  • Taking the time to simply listen to someone (without offering advice to them unless they've asked you for your opinion)

  • Sitting with someone to play a board game

  • Cooking with someone

  • Cleaning with someone

  • Going for a walk to the park with someone

  • Doing a fun activity with someone (for some ideas click here)

  • Going for coffee, tea, or sharing a meal with someone

  • Watching a movie with someone

  • Listening to music with someone and sharing your thoughts about it with one another

  • and doing any of the things I mentioned in the other categories while doing your best to be fully present with the other person (this means not being on your phone the entire time while doing so)

So that's it my beautiful friend! You now have a massive list of simple ways that you can help to start spreading kindness in this world. You also now know yet another tool to help you experience a little bit more hope, healing, love, and you guessed it - joy.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and if you have any other ideas that you think would be a great addition to this list, please feel free to send me a message by clicking here or you can also send me a DM on Instagram @thejoyjournalist.


If you'd like to share a story with me about an act of kindness that someone else did for you and how that simple act impacted you and or your life, please don't hesitate to reach out to me about that too.


I can't wait to share with you again soon and until next time I'm sending the biggest hugs your way.


With all my love,


Lau




P.S. If there's a charity organization that you'd like to share with people please do so in the comments section below or feel free to send it to me so that I can share it with others. Together we can help to make this world a better place and I know with all of my heart and soul that kindness will help us to achieve that. Whether you choose to donate your time, your money, to use your voice, or anything else that you can think of, each small act of kindness will add up and it will help to make a genuine difference.



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